Effects of cold stress and heat stress on coral fluorescence in reef-building corals

TitleEffects of cold stress and heat stress on coral fluorescence in reef-building corals
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsRoth MS, Deheyn DD
JournalScientific Reports
Date Published2013/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2045-2322
Accession NumberWOS:000315938000002
Keywordsacropora-yongei; bleaching event; climate-change; gene-expression; gfp-like proteins; montastraea-faveolata; ocean acidification; pocillopora-damicornis; scleractinian coral; symbiotic algae

Widespread temperature stress has caused catastrophic coral bleaching events that have been devastating for coral reefs. Here, we evaluate whether coral fluorescence could be utilized as a noninvasive assessment for coral health. We conducted cold and heat stress treatments on the branching coral Acropora yongei, and found that green fluorescent protein (GFP) concentration and fluorescence decreased with declining coral health, prior to initiation of bleaching. Ultimately, cold-treated corals acclimated and GFP concentration and fluorescence recovered. In contrast, heat-treated corals eventually bleached but showed strong fluorescence despite reduced GFP concentration, likely resulting from the large reduction in shading from decreased dinoflagellate density. Consequently, GFP concentration and fluorescence showed distinct correlations in non-bleached and bleached corals. Green fluorescence was positively correlated with dinoflagellate photobiology, but its closest correlation was with coral growth suggesting that green fluorescence could be used as a physiological proxy for health in some corals.

Short TitleSci Rep